Christopher JoyceChristopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.
Last year, the Obama administration canceled plans to make Yucca Mountain the permanent storage site for the nation's nuclear waste. The half-built site is seen here in a file photo from 2006.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says American nuclear plants need to be better prepared for the sudden and continued loss of electric power. Above, the Limerick Generating Station, a nuclear power plant in Pottstown, Pa.
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Instead of building costly, huge nuclear power plants like the Exelon Byron station in Byron, Ill., engineers are scaling down — aiming for garage-sized reactors that produce just one-tenth the amount of electricity of a conventional facility.
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CT scans of fossil Hadrocodium skulls allowed scientists to reconstruct its brain. The olfactory bulbs, located at the front of the brain, grew steadily larger as millions of years passed.
Matt Colbert/University of Texas at Austin
Protesters ride their bikes and hold flags reading "Nuclear power? No thanks" during a demonstration at the nuclear power plant of Biblis in Germany on April 25. Germany canceled plans to build new plants in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
A technician checks a spot with a Geiger counter in a forest that burned in 1992. The wildfire released radioactive particles into the air that were deposited there during the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Experts worry nearby forest, which is becoming overgrown, could again be ripe for a blaze.
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Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA, inspects oil-covered reeds while visiting the disaster site on May 20, 2010 south of Venice, Louisiana. A year after the spill, BP has yet to distribute $450 million dollars to scientists studying the disaster.
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This plant-eating dinosaur, Protoceratops andrewsi, was active day and night, like many other herbivorous dinosaurs. Researchers used measurements from the animal's eye socket to determine when it was most active.
Courtesy Lars Schmitz
Gray smoke rises from Unit No. 3 of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant Monday. Though no country is more familiar with nuclear peril than Japan, many Japanese don't connect the nuclear bombings of World War II with the ongoing crisis at Fukushima, says Yale-trained nuclear physicist Sukeyasu Yamamoto, who teaches in Tokyo.